With the rise of mobile devices and IoT, robust WiFi connectivity is more crucial than ever in homes and offices. Adding a wireless access point (WAP) is the easiest way to expand and improve your wireless network coverage and performance. Whether you need to remove dead zones in your home, deploy a guest network for businesses, or extend your WiFi to the outdoors and remote areas, a WAP has you covered. With the right placement and configuration, a WAP can take your network to the next level. In this guide, we’ll explore the key applications where a dedicated WAP can optimize your connectivity. I’ll review the main deployment scenarios, equipment choices, and installation factors to consider for optimal WiFi coverage.
What Is A Wireless Access Point?
Wireless AP is the access point of a wireless network, commonly known as “hot spot”. There are mainly two types of wireless APs: integrated routing and switching access device and pure access point device. The all-in-one device performs access and routing, and the pure access device is only responsible for the access of wireless clients. Pure access devices are usually used as wireless network extensions to connect with other APs or main APs to expand wireless coverage, while all-in-one devices are generally the core of wireless networks.
Wireless AP is the access point for users who use wireless devices such as mobile phones and laptops to enter the wired network. It is mainly used in broadband homes, inside buildings and inside campuses, as well as warehouses, factories and other places that need wireless monitoring. The coverage distance can reach tens of meters to hundreds of meters, and it can also be used for long-distance transmission. At present, the farthest can reach about 30KM. Most wireless APs also have access point client mode, which can wirelessly connect with other APs to extend the coverage of the network.
Application of Wireless Access Point
- Wireless AP is the access point for users to access the wired network by using wireless devices such as mobile phones and laptops. It is mainly used in broadband homes, inside buildings, inside parks, warehouses, factories and other places that require wireless monitoring.
- As the central point of the wireless local area network, computers equipped with wireless network cards can access the wireless local area network through it.
- Extend the network range by providing long-distance wireless connection to wired LAN or long-distance wired connection to small wireless LAN.
What Is The Difference Between Wireless Access Point And Router?
1. Differences in functions
The main function of a wireless AP is to convert a wired network into a wireless network. A wireless router is a wireless AP with routing function. After connecting to the broadband line, it can realize automatic dial-up access to the network through the routing function, and establish an independent wireless home network through the wireless function.
2. Differences in applications
Wireless APs are mostly used in large companies, which is convenient for company network administrators to realize network control and management. Wireless routers are generally used in home and SOHO environment networks. In general, the area to be covered in this case is not large and the number of users is small, so a wireless router is sufficient.
3. Differences in connection methods
A wireless AP cannot be connected to an ADSL modem and requires a switch or router as an intermediary. Instead, a wireless router with a broadband dial-up function can be connected directly to an ADSL modem for dial-up access and wireless coverage.
Advantages And Disadvantages of Wireless AP
Advantages of wireless ap panel
- The panel-type appearance is beautiful and simple, which can be well integrated into the decoration pattern.
- Embedded installation, embedded in the wall, which does not take up space and easy wiring.
- Built-in dual antennas, optimized antenna design is more suitable for hotels and large family villas wireless coverage, to avoid strong wifi radiation.
Disadvantages of wireless ap panel
- There are certain requirements for the pre-embedded network cable in the room, which should be a cat5e network cable (pure copper).
- The overall space covered by the wireless signal is relatively small, which can accommodate a small number of computer and mobile phone users.
- Compared with ordinary routers, the price is a bit high.
The Coverage of Wireless Access Point
The range and distance covered by a wireless AP signal also depends on other factors other than the performance of the wireless AP. No matter which brand of wireless AP it is, the capability and performance of the wireless AP can only be regarded as one of the influencing factors. In addition to the performance of the AP, the coverage distance of a wireless AP also depends on the environment of the wireless AP and the wireless client, and the capabilities of the client’s wireless network cards. These factors have a significant impact on the signal coverage and transmission distance.
The coverage range of indoor wireless APs is generally 20-30 meters. A typical wireless AP can cover up to 200 meters in an open area. High-end outdoor APs have a coverage range of 600-800 meters, and even farther can be possible, but the laptop’s network card is not powerful enough to send the AP. Wireless AP coverage can be very large, but having a signal does not necessarily mean you can get on the Internet, so the wireless AP coverage here refers to the range that can be used normally.
How Many Users Can A Wireless AP Connect To?
Since network usage varies greatly in each scenario and the terminal devices used are also different, it is difficult to follow a standardized testing method, so many manufacturers and vendors estimate the capacity based on typical usage environments. Due to the limitations of chipset and CPU power, the average household AP can connect no more than 10 users. Enterprise-grade APs have better performance, and in general, N-mode can carry 25 to 40 users on the network, with a maximum of 128 users, but this does not mean that they can be used for heavy traffic, such as multiple wireless scanners in the logistics industry. In short, to ensure that the communication speed of the entire wireless network is not affected, a single AP needs to control the number of wireless terminals connected.
How To Choose the Best Wireless Access Point for Your Needs?
Selection factors for wireless AP
Generally, the following aspects should be considered when selecting wireless APs:
- Environmental characteristics: outdoor or indoor, sparse distribution of terminals such as warehouses or high-density wireless access such as conference rooms, multi-function halls, etc.
- Installation method: Ceiling, panel or 86 box type.
- Power supply: Standard PoE (802.3af or 802.3at), Passive PoE or DC (Direct Current).
- Coverage: single room, multiple rooms, area coverage, fixed-point coverage, high-density coverage, etc.
- Capacity: 10, 20, 30 or 50 terminals per AP.
Misconceptions in wireless AP purchasing
- Thinking that the performance of expensive products is better and it is not wrong to buy the expensive one: You may be confused by the exaggerated advertising effect, which will only increase the cost in vain.
- The higher the wireless transmit power of the AP, the faster the network access speed: Other factors should be considered, and it is not wise to blindly pursue high-power products.
- Strong wall-penetration ability means fast Internet access: Strong wall-penetration ability does not mean that it has a long coverage or a large capacity.
- As long as the wireless AP’s hardware has good performance, there is no need to worry about other things: Hardware is only the foundation, and powerful software is also needed.
- With higher transmission rate, the wireless AP would be better: It also depends on the network bandwidth. If the network bandwidth is very small, even if you choose a 1000Mbps AP, the transmission rate will not be much faster.
Wireless Access Point Installation Tutorial
Are wireless ap panels suitable for home use? Certainly, the answer is yes, especially for families with relatively large areas. Conventional APs are mostly desktop models, which require a certain amount of space for installation and storage, that not only wastes space but also affects the simplicity of the entire environment. The panel AP adopts 86mm panel design, which can be easily mounted on a junction box in the room. The installation procedure is as follows:
- Use a screwdriver to remove the 86-type network wiring panel on the wall. (If there is no cover, it can be ignored)
- Use network cable pliers to make a crystal head for the pre-arranged network cable in the wall, and insert it into the PoE receiving network port on the back of the panel AP.
- Align the screw holes on the AP with the screw holes on the concealed box, and then install the screws to fix it.
- Secure the cover of the AP, and the installation is completed.
How To Set Up the Wireless Access Point?
- The first step in the wireless ap setup tutorial is to power up the router to be used as a switch (don’t connect to the front-end network for now), connect the computer to the LAN port, and enter 192.168.1.1 in the browser to enter the management interface.
- Go to “Basic Settings” for wireless settings and set the wireless network name in the SSI number.
- Enter Wireless Security Settings, select WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK, and set a wireless password of no less than 8 digits in PSK Password.
- Click on the DHCP server and choose not to enable it.
- Enter the network parameter “LAN Port Settings”, and change the IP address to the same network segment as the LAN port IP of the main router without conflict.
How To Choosing the Right Mode for Your Wireless Access Point?
Upgrading your home or office Wi-Fi? One key decision in setting up your wireless access point is choosing the right mode. The mode determines how your devices connect and communicate over the network. This guide will walk you through the common WAP modes and help you pick the best one for your needs.
1. Bridge mode for expanding coverage
If your goal is to expand Wi-Fi coverage in your home or office, bridge mode is a great option. This mode turns your WAP into a wireless repeater to pick up the existing Wi-Fi network and rebroadcast the signal further.
Bridge mode is ideal if you have dead zones in parts of your home or office. It allows you to expand the range without running ethernet cables everywhere. For example, the TP-Link Omada EAP225 outdoor wireless AP works great in bridge mode to carry Wi-Fi into the backyard or garage.
2. Access point mode for creating a new network
Want to create a separate Wi-Fi network specifically for guests or IoT devices? Access point (AP) mode designates your WAP as the creator of its own new wireless network.
AP mode gives you greater control and security, keeping guest and smart home traffic separate from your main network. For small businesses, having a dedicated guest network is also more professional. The NETGEAR WAX620 wireless access point using AP mode would deliver reliable performance for high traffic retail locations.
3. Router mode for instant network
If you need to set up a standalone Wi-Fi network in a remote office or temporary location, router mode turns your WAP into an all-in-one network solution. Router mode combines a router, switch, firewall, and wireless access point to instantly create an independent network. For example, the TP-Link EAP620 access point can run in router mode to quickly establish Wi-Fi at a pop-up office.
Choose the right mode for your needs
Deciding which mode fits your needs depends on your specific goals. As you upgrade your wireless coverage, think about expansion vs new networks and convenience vs control. With the right mode selected, your new WAP will deliver the connectivity your environment needs. I hope this overview helps guide you to the perfect mode for your upcoming wireless access point installation.
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